I’ve always thought of baseball cards as simply a piece of cardboard with a photo, stats, and a brief player bio until now. While I was flipping through my 1990’s A’s binder this 1991 Upper Deck Mike Gallego card caught my eye. Of course I noticed the clean border design, and the crisp action photo on the front. The photo features Gallego in the midst of getting his knees taken out trying to turn a double play. Fortunately, Gallego avoids the Angels runner and is captured mid-air after releasing the ball. When I turned the card over I found something interesting. There were stats, and another crisp photo that is easily one of the best baseball photos I’ve ever seen. The photo featured Gallego as a runner (in a nice looking California Gold colored uniform) successfully taking out the Brewer’s infielder’s knees causing him to land on his head. What is the big deal you ask? The photo on the back is the exact opposite of the photo on the front! Without words this card tells a fantastic story through photos. Who needs a player bio with this kind of storytelling?
Despite being produced in the junk wax era it is apparent that a lot of thought went into the production of this card. In today’s world of relics, autographs, numbered cards, and exclusivities (MLB – Topps, NHL – Upper Deck, Panini – NFL in 2016) cards feel cheap in comparison.
A few people have asked me why I collect Curtis Granderson cards if I’m an A’s fan.
Well, imagine being a student at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn. You arrive at your classroom, unpack your bag, and stand haphazardly for the Pledge of Allegiance. All of a sudden, a voice echoes through the speaker in the classroom, and it’s not the voice you’re familiar with. No, it’s the voice of Curtis Granderson, who was the starting outfielder for the New York Yankees. Granderson was at the high school to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, and to see the athletic facilities his foundation help build for the school. If this wasn’t enough, Granderson took a select group of students to see the movie, 42, when it was released back in April of 2013.
There are countless athletes who have visited schools and have done good deeds, but I can’t think of many athletes who would fly up from Florida on their day off to take a group of students to the movies. I can’t recall an athlete who refused to get paid by his endorsers so that the money could be used by his foundation. Whenever I watch Granderson being interviewed he is thoughtful and well spoken, and doesn’t bad mouth anyone. It’s no wonder he was voted one of the friendliest players in the game.
Living in New York for the past four years I’ve had the pleasure of watching Granderson play for both the Yankees and the Mets. You can tell he works hard, he hustles, and simply plays the game the right way. Of course, this is only one man’s perspective, and it’s a limited perspective at that. However, it’s refreshing to know a player like Granderson exists in any sport let alone baseball where players tend to be selfish, and are driven solely by the money. While I’ll always be an A’s fan, I’m very proud to be a fan of Curtis Granderson, and collect his cards. Did I mention he’s also authored a children’s book? Check this out.
Shown above are three of my favorite Curtis Granderson cards. An 2009 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts card that resembles a postage stamp. An 2009 Upper Deck Sweet Spots card that show that shows lighter site of Granderson. I’m a sucker for that baseball with the raised stitches at the bottom. Finally, a 2012 Bowman Gold Border card. It’s simple, clean, and it’s one of the few cards that shows Granderson in mid swing. You can check out the rest of my Curtis Granderson PC by clicking here or on the tab above.